I have a set of 5 tires (4:50 x 21" Firestones) that are in very good shape except that they were apparently black tires originally, but the whitewalls were just "painted on", a long time ago. It was a very neat job I think, because it was nicely done and they look pretty fair from a distance, however they are quite yellow from age and some of the white (but yellowing) paint is flaking off. These tires have very little wear, rubber is nice and soft and I think the tires are quite useable, but uggggly!!! Anybody know how to either "re-do" the white, or, better yet, remove it all and revert back to black tires,......???
Try a little brake cleaner and a brass brush.
Or turn the white walls to the inside and claim you drove over some fresh road lane marking paint. Actually I would try what Jack said or see if some of the newer citrus paint strippers will work.
GoJo with Pumice works too.
Some great ideas here I think. I understand that at one time, "painting" artificial white walls on black tires was a commonly done thing. Besides the great ideas already expressed, has anybody had the actual experience of removing old fake white painted whitewalls from black tires?
Chris - I had the same idea about the possibility of sandblasting. (???) Worth a try I guess,....thanx,.....harold
This comes from Mr. Cheapskate himself! Steve J is "Mr. Thrifty"! I am the cheapskate. I have done this and still have a couple usable tires to prove it.
After a good friend got tired of painting and repainting and re-repainting his whitewall tires. He finally bought some real, nice, new whitewall tires. We were always trading parts back and forth, so I ended up with the old tires with still a lot of good miles left in them.
I did try to clean them off. Gasoline worked sort of okay. But after one tire, I wasn't sure it was worth the time and effort. I am not a big fan of whitewalls anyway. So, I simply spray can painted the sidewalls of the tires black (gloss black because that was what I had). I mounted the used tires blackwall out, painted black in. Within a month of driving the car, you almost couldn't tell the insides had been painted unless I told you and you looked closely. I used to tell people because I got a kick out of their reactions. I even ran two of those tires on an open-wheel speedster for about a year.
If you like blackwall tires, that is what I would do. Especially if your car is going to have fenders.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
If you want the sidewalls of tires to be factory smooth and not pitted, don't sand or media blast. You'll never have smooth sidewalls, again.
Hey Harold...just dig up one of those coffee cans you have buried in your back yard. Grab a fistful of greenbacks and go buy a new set of tires!
(I'm just here to help)
Terry - I'm wondering if you actually tried sandblasting or seen tires that had been sandblasted to remove the aging, yellowing and flaking fake whitwalls or are just "surmizing" what might happen. Actually, if sandblasting would leave some sort of "textured" finish to the sidewalls, it might look okay if it's an even finish. I just want 'em black!
Bob - Coffee cans,....yeah,....right! I could buy a new set of tires alright, but then I'd still have that set of five tires that are quite useable, but too ugly to use or even sell! (.....and the lawn in the back yard would look like I just buried a dead cat!)
Harold, send them to me and I'll run em till they clean up! KGB
Harold...yeah, I'd do the same thing.
I just thought your chain needed yanking!
I don't know if they still make whitewall paint, so touching up the chips would be rather difficult. The best thing I've found for cleaning whitewalls, real or painted, is probably Bleche-White. Great stuff. Depending on how sharp your car looks, the chipped and yellowed paint might just add to the patina.
Hey Bob - I've "had my chain yanked" by professionals. You amateurs don't bother me,.....ha,ha,.....harold
Thanks everybody, got some "options" to decide upon now, but I'd still be interested in hearing from anybody that actually knows what happens if you sandblast tires!
I think the "option" of painting over what's there now would be a waste of time as the old paint under the new would still be flaking off. In fact, I think any paint would be short-lived, mostly due to the sidewall flexing constantly with driving.
Jared - Yeah, that's what I'm doing now,....calling it "patina", however, the "patina" never stops flaking off!
Thanks again guys,......harold
Harold, I'm speaking from experience. My 27 coupe had some Allstate 21" tires on it that had some yellow paint on them from when someone painted the wire wheels yellow with a brush and made no attempt to mask the tires. Sandblasting got the paint off the wheels and tires, but you can tell it when you place a new tire next to them. My new Firestones look show quality. The Allstates do not. Sandblasting will actually heat up metal if done incorrectly. No telling what damage that can't be seen, could be done to rubber.
Terry - More good info! Thanks so much Terry. Sounds to me like the sandblasting thing is at least worth some "experimentation" (on the worst tire that I can always call a "spare")
Harold, never tried glass beading rubber, but have had good results on spokes by keeping pressure down and going slowly. KGB
I would try brake fluid. Not brake cleaner, but brake fluid. It is usually pretty tough on paint, but it is totally safe for rubber. I was skeptical when I first heard this, so I asked a friend of mine that was an engineer for Goodyear. He said that the brake fluid is safe for rubber, and can even be used for a dressing. Better than Armorall.
Steve, what you post makes more sense than sandblasting. I know brake fluid will ruin paint, but it would have to be safe on rubber, otherwise boots on wheel cylinders would be eaten up quickly. Just use gloves and don't let pets lick your tires after an application. On the other hand, a dog is more liable to leave a liquid deposit on your tire than licking it.